Saturday, September 20, 2008

Train along the coast

So we celebrated our 5th anniversary and mutual b-days by taking a train ride from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon. We flew into LA the night before, has a tremendously great meal at Ciao Trattoria off 7th and Fig (highly recommend the place) and the next morning we took the rail to Union Station for our departure that morning.

We got the family room sleeper, thankfully. The roomettes only sleep two and you literally sit across from one another with your legs on the other person. Because we upgraded to the family room, ours slept five and we had the entire width of the train where we could stretch out and relax. We played scrabble, hung out in the lounge (Parlour Car) for sleepers only, spent time in the observation car where we watched dolphins in the ocean, walked around the different towns when we had stops, and went to the movie theater after dinner and saw Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Anthony, our conductor, was awesome. We overheard and spoke with some other couples who had other conductors that were less than pleased. Anthony brought us champagne, fruit baskets, would stop us when in the observation car to see if we wanted the beds turned down, etc. He was just the most attentive and detailed service provider I've seen in a long time. If anyone takes the Amtrak Coast Starlight, I HIGHLY recommed him.

So we spend the night on the train which was great as it literally rocks you to sleep. Woke up just before sunrise ( still use to baby time, I think ) and went to the observation car to watch the sun come up over the mountains. We were just passing Mt. Shasta when dawn broke. The ice and snow was still prevalent. It was really awesome.

Once we arrived into Portland, we walked downtown to the hotel and showered up, relaxed, and headed out
to Mama Mia's Trattoria for our birthday dinner. We had to take a picture of the hostess calendar for our scrap book and the server commented on what a unique calendar it was. When we explained it was both our birthday they congratulated us and, after another great dinner, surprised us with this amaretto cheesecake with caramel drizzled over top. I love cheesecake and I can honestly say this was the best I've had. It seemed to evaporate in my mouth, it was so light and airy. The taste was wonderful but the texture was out of this world.

The next day we walked around downtown shopping and taking some pictures. Checked out Powell Books which was awesome, could have spent a weekend at that place; took the train over to Lloyd Center and then back again before going back to the room for our late checkout. It was sad to leave Portland. The weather was magnificent. It was cool and breezy but sunny so you were warmed and comfortable. There was no rain, in fact they said it was uncommonly warm that whole week.

The downtown had a great feel to it and the mass transit system was fabulously friendly and easy (and FREE) to use. Would have loved to spend more time checking out the burbs and gardens, etc. But this trip was really about the train experience, which we truly did enjoy. Check that one off the list.

We took pics with the digital and some with my old 35mm. I haven't developed those yet but here are some pics from the trip off the digital.

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